WA: Sprague – 03/20/2017 – 03/23/2017

Parking: Fishtrap BLM land
Rating: 10

Sprague, WA
Fishtrap – solid parking

Fishtrap was the first place we boondocked when we started full-timing, and it’s still one of my favorite places. The last time we were here was over Memorial Day weekend. We had been planning on going to Moses Lake at the time, but it was an absolute zoo there. Fishtrap, however, was nearly empty and peaceful.

Since our last visit, the BLM folk put in a bunch of gravel at the campsite where we stayed (and added a nice, new pit toilet). We drove the exact same path as we had before, and that turned out to be a very good plan, because the guy that put the gravel down did not know anything about drainage and just dumped the gravel down. Part of the camping area was a bit swampy last time we were there, and since then, NE Washington has had a crazy amount of rain. When the BLM guy drove through the site on his rounds, he got stuck in the gravel – majorly stuck. I know he was very embarrassed to have it happen in front of an audience (we got our rig stuck in Florida, so I know the feeling), and he rejected our attempts to help him – we still had the boards we used to get ourselves unstuck. He called in a coworker, and they tried several ways of trying to drag his truck out, but none of that worked. Eventually, the BLM guy found a private backhoe, and, after much maneuvering, the operator was able to pull the truck out. At one point, the operator hollered, “I sure hope no one gets any pictures of this,” but I gleefully hollered out from the loft of the RV, “TOO LATE!”

Sprague, WA
First attempt – drag with pick-up
Sprague, WA
Second attempt – drag with backhoe
Sprague, WA
Third attempt – lift with backhoe
Sprague, WA
No wonder the truck sunk – no drainage

AZ: Wintersburg – 02/04/2017 – 02/06/2017

Parking: Saddle Mountain BLM land
Rating: 9

Wintersburg, AZ
Saddle Mountain

A lot of full-time RVers hit Arizona in the winter. Some stay at the over-priced, sardine-like resorts, but many opt to boondock for free out in the desert on BLM land. Everything has to be hauled in or out – there are no pit toilets, water spigots, or trash containers. I was expecting the place to look like a garbage dump, but I was pleasantly surprised as there was no litter anywhere. Folk park off the dirt roads a few hundred yards apart and pretty much keep to themselves.

We did a little bit of gem hunting, but as we put near zero effort in, we didn’t get anything out.

Wintersburg, AZ
Saddle Mountain
Wintersburg, AZ
Cactus
Wintersburg, AZ
Cactus

WA: Sprague – 05/26/2016 – 05/30/2016

Sprague, WA

Parking: Rest Area
Rating: 8

Parking: Fishtrap
Rating: 10
WoW: Arathi Highlands

After getting confirmation that the buyers had signed their paperwork, and the sale was being registered, we were officially house-free and were ready to travel. We headed for Moses Lake, but it was absolutely ridiculous for the holiday weekend – tons of people and dust flying everywhere, so we headed further east.

We arrived at Fishtrap a little too late to try to figure out where to park (especially for our first official night), so we decided to stay the night at the Rest Area a few miles back west. We drove through the town of Sprague, and it was weird and creepy. It was absolutely empty looking. It seemed to be the kind of town that Stephen King would write a tale of stranded tourists being caught by long dead ghosts to become permanent residents.

The Rest Area was clean and restful. We stayed about five minutes less than the eight-hour maximum and headed back to Fishtrap. The area was a bunch of old farms that the BLM has taken over. We were expecting another crush of people, but it was nearly empty. We pulled over into a nice parking spot and unloaded the motorcycles. Eventually, a couple tent-camped near us for one night, and a mile or so away, a group of horse-riding and ATV-riding truck campers set up. There were a few day folk that visited during the holidays to bike or hike, but other than the truck campers, we only saw one other RV. It was unbelievable to have the place pretty much to ourselves on what should be a very busy weekend – especially since it’s a free location.

The area is beautiful with rolling hills of grasses with a few pine groves in the distance. The motorcycle riding was excellent, and we met a lovely couple that gave us some information on the area and suggested that we visit Big Horn in WY when we get out that way.

We rode out back to Sprague to get some groceries at the gas station, and the town was completely different than at night – it looked like a perfectly normal (but little) place. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to notice the difference because we overheard another party making similar comments. It’s bizarre that this part of WA supplies so much food to the rest of the state/country/world, but they themselves have limited access to buy their own groceries. For example, when we got a loaf of bread, the cashier said, “it’s still frozen, so you know it’s fresh!”

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Rant:
This is a well-maintained area, but when we arrived, someone had recently left their garbage bag behind, animals had shredded it, and the winds had scattered the trash all over. The area does not have dumpsters, so visitors are expected to “pack it out,” but apparently that is just too much trouble for some folk. The trash was clearly only from only one day’s visit (one day’s food, one empty pack of cigarettes and bottle of booze, and some used toilet paper), so there’s no doubt these litterbugs would have had plenty of room in their vehicle to take their trash home. So, the first thing I had to do when we arrived was to get out a bag and gloves, and pick it all up – some of the toilet paper all stuck in the bushes. Then we had to keep some random person’s poop-covered trash for three days. Nice.